library experience essay

it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied. Wrey Gardiner scores by aiming at simple bull's-eyes with precision. Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead. Only they are not so simple, and through this contented sadness runs more than the surface bitter-sweet of resignation. These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad I could have"d far worse if I had chosen but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. Letter in, tribune, each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. Political language and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst. I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Recall the definition of love. And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword. Never use a long word where a short one will. But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning.

George Orwell: Politics and the English Language



library experience essay

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